HEALTHY MISTAKES

Screen-Shot-2014-09-11-at-7.38.49-AMFear, failure, and loser are just a few words associated with making mistakes. Certainly, the associative properties of these words don’t elevate self esteem, but our own misperceptions often lead to the damaging emotions that result from making mistakes.

There is a big difference between trying something new and intentionally doing something wrong. Mistakes may be made in both situations, however, one offers the potential for positive change where the other merely satisfies a temporary need and often ends in greater harm.

Just like most things in life that lead to improved security and self confidence, we need to learn and practice new patterns of thinking that permit us to make mistakes. We need to see mistakes as opportunities to grow and expand our capabilities and understanding rather than merely examples of sub par outcomes or outright failures. We must realize the ability to learning is a GIFT we all possess. Each of us, however, learn in different ways (ex. visual, auditory, written) and must find and utilize the methods most effective for learning and processing information. Learning is NOT always fun OR easy, but the increased knowledge (or ability to integrate this knowledge) is ALWAYS BENEFICIAL.

I question whether our fear comes from actual mistakes or comes from an innate understanding that we, as individuals, lack self commitment to pursuing purposeful approaches to succeed in life. If this is true, FEAR of making MISTAKES becomes the dominating force which impedes our intellectual, physical and emotional abilities. Obesity, depression, cardiac conditions, diabetic conditions and cancer BECOME OUTCOMES RATHER THAN CAUSES OF DISEASE. This is why doctors have been unsuccessful at overcoming these conditions. Until doctors get patients to recognize the cause of disease (in many cases) is SELF INFLICTED lifestyle patterns, medication, chiropractic adjustments and accupuncture will never reverse the trend of disease. The answer lies within the patient and their willingness to live a lifestyle that promotes physical and emotional health.

This fear of making mistakes starts relatively young and takes hold over children and young adults pursuing high school and college educations. This results in the dropout  rates we see today. Forms of social media are used as a “hideout” and begin consuming the lives of individuals as they begin isolating and alienating themselves from society. This form of communication satisfies the need for self control as the individual pushes buttons on a keyboard, tablet or cell phone without the fear of direct confrontation. This world of communication creates a “MISTAKE FREE” environment making it a source for many people to use for “refuge.” This path reinforces withdrawing from life and its opportunities and leads to increasing rates of obesity, depression and other physical health maladies. This was NOT the intent of social media and can be corrected and used in a helpful manner to share information in a meaningful way. Why do so many people choose this path if the outcome is so damaging? It is my opinion, “MISTAKES” and the negative connotations they impose on individuals already lacking self confidence creates such desperation, that long term detriment is accepted for short term relief.

This is why health in United States is so bad and why the current approach to improving it has failed. You can’t treat physical or emotional problems effectively until people see a realistic path in life to pursue or follow. Instructing people on good food sources or proper exercise routines are ONLY steps in a process; not outright solutions. Defining the bigger picture and filling the current void with constructive ideas that will foster social interaction rather than reinforcing the current trend to insulate and isolate individuals behind computer screens and cell phones is an important FIRST step.

For those people reading this and relating to its content, I suggest a few points to consider if desiring to redirect one’s current path in life.

  1. FIND PURPOSE IN LIFE: Those who have no starting point may wish to seek others in need. An example might be organizations like “Big Brother or Big Sister.” Seek out charitable organizations such as “Meals on wheels” or shelters that feed the homeless. By helping others, we gain a new perspective on life, where we fit, and what our strengths and weaknesses are. It also adds value to our own lives as we help others and influence the outcomes of those in need.

  2. EDUCATION: Educate yourself (formally through certified education OR informally through library sources, hands on voluntary vocational training or neighborhood improvement programs.) These sources of learning provide an environment to come out from behind the computer or cell phone placing us among positive people and increasing opportunity for social interactions. They offer nurturing conditions without “fear” of judgement and help you witness mistakes that organizations make that lead to productive outcomes rather than organizational failure.  This new understanding reduces the fear of mistakes and  further encourages improved self esteem. Mistakes become seen as opportunities for new growth and development instead of “failure”.

  3. SMALL PERSONAL CHANGES: If you eat poorly and don’t exercise, begin by identifying these issues as self damaging. Decide for yourself your self worth. If you determine you deserve and desire better, begin by implementing small easy changes that can be incorporated into lifelong habits without feeling the sense of deprivation. Some examples might include: (1) walking 5-15 minutes a day. Commit and practice this behavior without excuses. If it is raining, cold or hot outside, walk in your house or go to a mall. Whatever activity you choose make certain its doable and one you are ready to commit to. New patterns require REPETITION to become true habits. (2) begin eating three meals per day (if you currently eat irregularly.) Make one of these meals a healthy meal that satisfies the need for taste and flavor. Every two weeks incorporate a different meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) into this healthy category. Include one day per week an optional “anything goes” day in case you decide you want one. This provides “permission” to oneself WITHOUT GUILT. This pattern becomes a new “habit” and leads to less cravings for damaging foods. Over time, poorer quality foods are no longer needed to create “feel good” moments. Improved quality living begins displacing the need for unhealthy food choices.

With the new year upon us, new opportunities to travel different paths in life are achievable. I do NOT call this a resolution! I call it a new lifelong lifestyle that becomes as natural to live (with a healthy and happy outcome) as your current lifestyle is (without the damaging self destructive patterns.) Many people need to hit rock bottom before seeking a better alternative. Why delay the inevitable better path since you now have three realistic options that can start you on a better path?

I ask you for one favor in return. In the comment space, provide your reason for changing course and what simple easy steps you will start with. I need your assistance to motivate other people in your shoes to keep this process going. Your words AND ACTIONS will encourage other people to “pay it forward.” All I ask is that you truly commit to your own ACTIONS. Please, make your life better to help yet another person improve theirs.

Mental-health

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12 comments

  1. You are talking about me here. However, my use of social media is to help others and to write articles to help others.

    I now walk up and down the stairs several times a day and I can do squats where my knees actually bend. I can get down on the floor now. Pain? Yes, but I push slowly through it if need be. I also use light weights, 2 lbs and just 10 lifts for now. I don’t want to push too far too fast.

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    1. So proud of you. Nice to see you putting effort into taking care of your health. This is such an important step and helps chemically balance the body as well. Stay motivated and keep up the good effort!

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  2. You made several good points in this post. Overcoming obstacles as well as making mistakes are not negative events in our lives. Not if we use them as learning experiences. These events teach us to grow. Hopefully, this change leades to our evolution into a path of wisdom and acceptance. I agree with your comments about social media. Social media has been used in the wrong way.Thank you for that last image. I have learned there is good in everyone and everything. Hope you and yours had an excellent holiday.

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    1. Glad to see we share a similar view on this topic. It helps lighten the load on those thinking every mistake is another tragedy causing greater insecurity and withdrawal. People already experience levels of anxiety that are too high.

      The holidays went well with family visits to South Carolina and Winston Salem, North Carolina. Hope yours were enjoyable as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, you did a Christmas tour. You must be a rock star. Mine was great.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. For my health, I am motivated to change course because I want to live a long and healthy life, and I also want to expand my family. In order to do that, I need to be at a healthy starting weight because I don’t want to put either myself or my baby at risk.

    Finding purpose and giving back is an area that I’m really working on. I am signing up for a bunch of fundraising walks next year because it combines my healthy lifestyle and helping others (hey, nothing wrong with efficiency). I also want to volunteer one day per month.

    I was once a teaching assistant and I am always happiest when I am helping others. I remember helping students understand difficult concepts and how rewarding that was. I want to take that same approach and help others in new ways. I am in a position where I can give back and I am going to!

    Blogging is another way that I am trying to engage with people. I’ve had a great response on my blog so far and I’ve connected with so many people. I get a lot of kind emails from people letting me know that my writing has resonated with them and helped them to deal with something in their lives. I’m increasing my posting cadence and trying to provide even more valuable content next year.

    Finally, I am also working on being kinder to myself. I work really hard but I also have high expectations and little patience when I make mistakes. I’m learning to try and treat myself with the same courtesy and understanding that I provide to others, which is harder than it sounds!

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    1. Not if, but when you achieve these goals you will be living life on a different plane. Life will feel simpler even though it will continue to pose challenges. Your concern for speedy outcomes will dissipate. Patience will become more natural. Your ability to enjoy the process will become more important making the challenges less difficult. It becomes much easier to be happy and purposeful. You’ll get there; just be patie….. enduring and calm. 😉

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  4. Howto$tuffYourPig · · Reply

    Great point about finding your purpose! It’s so important to know where you want to go or where you hope to be in life!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Life becomes less stressful (thus, more pleasurable) and more meaningful when we discover a purpose in living. These personalities wish there was more time in the day to make each day more enjoyable; not simply to “get things done.” I have found it to be a wonderful way to live.

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  6. The introductory graphic is priceless.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Seriously, an unhealthy attitude toward mistakes is part of what is wrong with our politics. Not so much fear of making a mistake in the first place as fear of admitting one. Pols are sometimes willing to try something new but almost always terrified of admitting that it did not work and trying to learn from the failure. The only mistakes that can recognized are those made somebody else (as by Chamberlain at Munich in 1938); it is OK to admit Chamberlain’s mistake and to overgeneralize from it. Pols’ usual response to their own and their allies’ mistakes is to double down.

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    1. I’m not convinced politicians care about terms such as “right,” wrong,” “mistake,” etc… They care about two words, PERCEPTION and POWER.

      Liked by 1 person

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